Sunday, June 13, 2010

Jewish Voice for Peace takes on TIAA- CREF

Jewish Voice for Peace, the “Proud to be Ashamed to be Jewish “ arm of the movement to delegitimitze Israel has long attempted without success to make inroads into the New York Jewish community. On June 10 JVP and Adalah held a meeting at Judson Church (knowing full well that no synagogue or Jewish community center would agree to host them) 28 people attended. Of that group, a half dozen were committed Zionists

JVP is at the forefront of the US boycott, sanctions and divestment movement seeking to economically socially and cultural isolate the only democracy in the Middle East. Boasting of their growth and support, they have claimed 100,000 “members” on their e-mail subscription list, 30,000 who have contributed money and 10,000 who are "core". The New York group remains limited to 10-15 active members. (Hmm, Rebecca, of the 1,600,000 million Jews in New York, sure doesn’t seem like your movement is meeting with a great deal of success)
JVP used the Judson Church venue to launch their latest scheme. Tiaa Cref is one of the largest financial services in the U.S. and one of the largest pension funds in the world with over $400 Billion dollars invested. The hope of the JVP plan (estimated to take 3-5 years to implement ) is that they might create a domino effect with other companies involved in business within Israel.

The lucky companies that will be the focus of JVP;s attention include:
1. VEOLIA (French company -124 M.)
2. ELBIT (Israeli company- 2.1 million)
This company manufactures surveillance equipment for the Separation Wall (security fence). It was mentioned that they are also providing equipment for the border in New Mexico and Arizona.
3. NORTHROP GRUMMAN (U.S. company- 177M.)
This company manufactures parts for the Apache helicopters and F-16’s “used against civilians in Gaza”.
4. CATEPILLAR (U.S. company- 216.M)
This company manufactures bulldozers according to IDF specs
5. Motorola (111M)
This company provides communication for the IDF and the security fence.
6. ALON USA, a subsidiary of the ALON GROUP, through its subsidiary DOR ALON, holds the monopoly to the gas supplied to Gaza
TIAA-CREF has $500 million invested in these companies.

JVP’s plan ? They are starting with a petition, and are hoping to have 10,000 signatures by the end of the year; with at least half TIAA-CREF investors. The primary target will be Universities and professors.
And of course, there will be a “civil rights” theme, with JVP and its allies claiming these six companies role in the “occupation” act together to deprive the Palestinians of the right to education and access to health care. They’d be neglecting the fact that under Israel’s “brutal and genocidal occupation”:

... mortality rates in the West Bank and Gaza fell by more than two-thirds between 1970 and 1990, while life expectancy rose from 48 years in 1967 to 72 in 2000 (compared with an average of 68 years for all the countries of the Middle East and North Africa). Israeli medical programs reduced the infant-mortality rate of 60 per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 15 per 1,000 in 2000 (in Iraq the rate is 64, in Egypt 40, in Jordan 23, in Syria 22). And under a systematic program of inoculation, childhood diseases like polio, whooping cough, tetanus, and measles were eradicated.

No less remarkable were advances in the Palestinians' standard of living. By 1986, 92.8 percent of the population in the West Bank and Gaza had electricity around the clock, as compared to 20.5 percent in 1967; 85 percent had running water in dwellings, as compared to 16 percent in 1967; 83.5 percent had electric or gas ranges for cooking, as compared to 4 percent in 1967; and so on for refrigerators, televisions, and cars.

Finally, and perhaps most strikingly, during the two decades preceding the intifada of the late 1980's, the number of schoolchildren in the territories grew by 102 percent, and the number of classes by 99 percent, though the population itself had grown by only 28 percent. Even more dramatic was the progress in higher education. At the time of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, not a single university existed in these territories. By the early 1990's, there were seven such institutions, boasting some 16,500 students. Illiteracy rates dropped to 14 percent of adults over age 15, compared with 69 percent in Morocco, 61 percent in Egypt, 45 percent in Tunisia, and 44 percent in Syria.

Lucky Tiaa Cref has received the attention of the BDS crowd before, when routine reallocation of assets was touted to be yet another victory for divestment:

And yes, JVP, there will be opposition. You can count on it. People of good will and integrity reject BDS and know that the real path of peace is more economic ties, more cultural ties, more social ties between people, and that JVP’s latest attempt to isolate the only democracy in the Middle East is again doomed to failure


Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Jewish Voice for Peace seems to be attracting a lot of attention this week:

So now it seems that JVP is trying to win a genuine victory with CREF, rather than take the easier (but ultimately more ridiculous) route of trying to perpetrate another divestment hoax. Unfortunately, once you send out press releases making false claims about the actions of a third party (such as TIAA-CREF), that third party is not very likely to want to take your phone calls the following year. Which is why CREF has responded to their new campaign with a polite but firm "We are not divesting from holdings in Israel" followed by "We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts" which to me reads like "don't call us, we won't call you".

Read more here:

Anonymous said...

Well, you scooped JVP by 3 days:
Interestingly enough, their statement reads:

"We ask you to sign the petition - regardless of your religion, ethnicity or profession, or whether you participate in a TIAA-CREF retirement plan."

So they want people whose retirement livlihood isn't even invested in Tiaa cref to tell investor what to do.

Its almost Stalinist, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

From JVP's latest fundraising appeal:

"JVP's TIAA-CREF campaign has already made history by gathering the broadest range of US campus-based divestment endorsers ever - we've barely begun, and we already have the support not just of rabbis but of academics from literally dozens of colleges "

Dozens!!! Count'em. Dozens!!!! They are on a roll, those ever so optistic bright eyed bushy tailed folk at JVP. Dozens.

Mom and Dad must be so proud.

You go, Rebecca.

Anonymous said...

Rebecca Vilkomerson had stated at this meeting that the divestment campaign from Tiaa-Cref had a 3-5 year timeline. She then added "if they had a flotilla a week it might go much faster" . She was looking for real celebrity endorsers- as of now they just had "lefty celebrities" involved with the campaign.

She stressed that the campaign had two basic goals- divestment, and "public education"- read "propaganda value".

They are anticipating opposition and feel that "fierce crazed opposition" serves their goal nad makes this "newsworthy". She passed out a handout on dealing with opposition- I will email it to you.

Rebecca stated that JVP had "very deep infrastructure" and a longhistory of "providing political cover" (yes, those were her exact words) and would back supporters of their campaign.

Anonymous said...

When is a failure a victory?
Whenever JVP is involved.

On their website, you can almost hear Cecile's maniacal chortling:
"Good news: We've barely started and TIAA-CREF has already responded to our campaign."

Click on the link, and you learn the response is... No.

Thats right. No. As in "No way".